This is always a problem for librarians. We try donating our unwanted books to charity shops or holding book drives but sadly our attempts are not always very successful! They still pile up! However, there are a number of companies who offer libraries a completely free service to recycle their unwanted books and some even sell what they can to raise funds for various charities. No books go to landfill. Unfortunately due to logistical problems and rising costs, however, some of these companies have recently had to review and even withdraw their services. So if you have used one such company in the past it may still be worth contacting them again, as some we have found are not taking on new customers for the foreseeable future. Hopefully the situation will improve over time.
Some of the book disposal and recycling companies LIPSSEE members have used successfully in the past are listed below, but please note that many will not accept text books, very out of date non-fiction or damaged books so please do check the terms and conditions on their websites.
Anybook – just box up your unwanted books and fill in the form on their website to arrange a pickup
Bookrescuers – this company prefers to collect a minimum of 30 boxes but will provide these for you
Children’s Book Project– works with settings across London to redistribute thousands of new and gently used books to children and their families. Please email Liberty Venn if you would like to be involved in the project firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delight Charity– this Surrey based (Caterham) charity collects pre-loved, outgrown and new children’s books suitable for children aged 3-11. Once they’ve received and counted your books they will send your school or work place a thank you certificate and stickers for the children. Contact them at email@example.com
Reading Spots – this is a primarily volunteer-led collaborative project with the aim of creating community-led libraries in rural areas of Ghana. Brighton College organises one central book drive each year. Do get in touch if you are able to offer any books, but please let them know before delivering them to Brighton College. Do also get in touch with Reading Spots if you would like to organise your own book drive to a library in Ghana. They can talk to you about the costs of shipping boxes of books over. They are particularly keen to receive any African fiction or non-fiction books, and request that all books are in excellent condition. Picture books for ages 2-8 are particularly in demand. A Partner in Education (AIPE) operates similarly but with schools in Rwanda
Recycle2School – (Tel. no. 0800 7819 887) mainly provides a free collection of unwanted clothes but unwanted books, CDs, DVDs and video games are now also included. Pupils can also bring in any unwanted books from home. They will collect all books regardless of their condition and no amount is too big or too small. They are a sister company of Choice Textiles (Park Royal, London) who also run the Book Savers and Books for Africa initiatives – contact details are on their website.
World of Books – collection is free and no amount is too big! The company have a very environmental ethos about reusing or recycling the books, so you know each book will go to the right place.
Several other organisations have been suggested but as they are charities themselves their collection services are not always free! These include:
School Aid- works closely with schools here in the UK and in Africa. If you want your children to get more involved with the donation process they can supply resource materials to support your effort. Contact them for further information on firstname.lastname@example.org
Books2Africa: Book a collection online to have UPS collect donated items from your address at the cost of £7 a box, or you can deliver them to their Donation Point in Dover
Quite often local charity shops such as Oxfam, Lions or the British Red Cross have shops that are book-specific and they have never been known to refuse a donation! Burgess Hill, Billingshurst, Reigate and Sevenoaks are all towns in our area that support such shops. It has also been suggested that any books in good condition may also be donated to your local state primary school
If all else fails why not build yourself a book house like this one: http://inhabitat.com/incredible-house-sculpture-made-from-hundreds-of-recycled-books-by-cardiffmiller/
(Last updated by Denise Reed on 11 February 2019)